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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Painting of Vajrapāṇi (thunderbolt bearer) standing on two lotuses, holding a vajra. Striking musculature delineated in cherry-pink. Ink and colours on silk.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 851-900 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 64 centimetres
    • Width: 18.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This striking banner has four bottom streamers of dark blue silk and side streamers of bluish green and plain green, but there is no weighting board. The bottom streamers and one side streamer are stamped with motifs of flowers and insects, as is the side streamer of Pl. 62; the plain green streamer may be a replacement.
    Even more than in Pl. 58, the network of colour modelling, here executed in “acrid pink”, makes an extraordinary impression. It covers all the exposed areas of flesh, even the face and hands, not only to suggest the musculature of the torso but also to reinforce the demonic appearance of the face. Stein’s description in Serindia comments on the extreme nature of this “meaningless latticework of a coarse pink”. In fact it should probably be seen as having its own rationale, used for demons (see, for example, the crouching figures beneath the feet of the Lokapālas, as in Pl.63, as opposed to the quietly schematic method of colour shading and highlighting earlier used for the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, for example in Pl.7). Naturally, the same convention can be easily found in the wall paintings, the best example being of royal and other mourners in the famous parinirvāna scene of Cave 159 (late eighth or early ninth century); another in the same cave, using colour only without ink outlines, is seen in an attendant of Mañjusrī (Dunhuang bihua, Pl.174) A dated example is seen in the painting of Tejaprabha Buddha and the Five Planets (A.D. 897,Pl.27), and may support a late ninth or even early tenth century date for the present painting.此五彩繽紛的幡,底部是藏藍色絹做的幡腳,鎮板已遺失,側面一邊是青綠、另一邊是綠色的幡尾。底部幡腳和側面的幡尾映出花和蟲子花紋,這和圖62幡兩側的幡尾一樣。無花樣的綠色幡尾可能是後補的。


  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield & Farrer 1990 cat.no.41 bibliographic details
    • Fraser 1996a fig.149 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a p.1032 bibliographic details
    • Fraser 2000 p.203 and fig.23 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 pl.57 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    2005 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.xxvi.a.005 (Stein no.)
Painting of Vajrapani (thunderbolt bearer) standing on two lotuses, holding a vajra. Striking musculature in cherry-pink. Ink and colours on silk.

Front Painting of Vajrapani (thunderbolt bearer) standing on two lotuses, holding a vajra. Striking musculature in cherry-pink. Ink and colours on silk.

Image description



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